2021 Schedule

2021 Schedule
2-0, 1st in NFC South
AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman
12hDavid Newton

McCaffrey (cramps) expects to be fine vs. Texans

The Panthers have no concerns with Christian McCaffrey heading into Thursday's game after the star running back suffered "onset cramps" briefly during Sunday's win.

0:43

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Running back Christian McCaffrey says while the Panthers have a very young team, they are mature. That's helped Carolina to a 2-0 start for the first time since McCaffrey‘s rookie year in 2017.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Talk about an improvement. Through two games the Panthers have held opponents to 25 percent on third down, second only to the Vikings. Last year, they ranked 31st on third-down at 49 percent.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

This is impressive. The Panthers pressured Jameis Winston on 18 of his 28 dropbacks (64%), the third-highest pressure rate for any NFL team since ESPN began tracking pressure in 2009. It was the highest pressure rate Winston has ever faced.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns making a statement about the team's mentality with sweatshirt that says ‘'There is no finish line.''

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

The Panthers open 2-0 for the first time since 2017, the last time they had a winning season. The key? Consistent play of Sam Darnold and a swarming defense. Next up is a chance to go 3-0 with a Thursday night game against Houston.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Panthers QB Sam Darnold was 6 of 10 for 107 yards and a touchdown on play-action passes in a Week 1, and is 5 of 8 for 61 yards and a touchdown today. He had no play-action TD passes with the Jets in 2020, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

McCaffrey barely breaks the plane on 11-yard TD run (0:16)
2d
Jameis Winston throws INT on desperation heave (0:23)
2d
Darnold hits Moore on the slant for second TD pass of the day (0:16)
2d

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Panthers QB Sam Darnold looked like a Pro Bowler, completing 16 of 20 first-half pass attempts for 216 yards and two touchdowns. The defense was smothering, holding the Saints to 65 yards and three first downs. In building a 17-0 lead this was the most complete first-half domination by Carolina since Matt Rhule took over last season.

Darnold rolls out and hits Brandon Zylstra for 20-yard TD (0:17)
2d

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Impressive first drive for the Panthers. Solid pocket for Sam Darnold. Good variety of play selection. And nice rollout touchdown pass from Sam Darnold to Brandon Zylstra, More impressive than any drive in the opener.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

The Keep Pounding prompt returns to Bank of America Stadium after a big outcry from fans.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Interesting from ESPN Stats and Info. Saints QB Jameis Winston is making his 10th career start vs Panthers. His 40 Total QBR in those games is his 3rd-lowest against any team he's made multiple starts against.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Panthers inactives: OT Trent Scott, WR Shi Smith, OG MIchael Jordan, OG Deonte Brown, DT Phil Hoskins, DE Darryl Johnston, TE Colin Thompson.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

My three keys for the Panthers in today's NFC South game against the Saints: X This may be an every week key, but keep Sam Darnold clean. He was pressured 14 times and hit seven times by the Jets last week, and the Saints are much better. X Pressure Jameis Winston and get him back into some of his Tampa Bay bad habits (picks). X Be more efficient in the red zone. 1TD out of four trips like last week won't cut it.

USA Today Sports
3d

Saints minus two more assistants amid protocols

The Saints announced Saturday defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen and pass rush specialist Brian Young will not be with the team for its second game of the year due to NFL COVID-19 protocols, joining six others from New Orleans coach Sean Payton's staff.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Panthers right guard John Miller admitted he had COVID-19 last week when he missed the opener and "was down pretty bad for three or four days.'' He watched the 19-14 win over the Jets from bed. He said if he had to face the Saints today he probably would play only half the game. He wouldn't discuss if having COVID changed his stance on the vaccination.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Panthers second year safety Jeremy Chinn laughed and admitted there's some confusion when somebody yells JC on the field because it could be him, middle linebacker Jermaine Carter or cornerback Jaycee Horn. In this case, thought, it's better to have three JC's than none.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Panthers DC Phil Snow admits he's got his hands full preparing for the Saints, who have beaten Carolina eight of the last nine games. New Orleans has averaged 30.5 points in those wins. Snow notes coach Sean Payton has had one of the "best offenses in the league the last 10 years.''

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Team Stats

Passing Yards282.09th
Rushing Yards100.021st
Points For22.5Tied-18th
Points Against10.532nd